Lithium levels in drinking water and risk of suicide

Okay, the summary is this, researchers looked at the natural lithium in drinking water as compared to suicide rates. Their conclusion:

We found that lithium levels were significantly and negatively associated with SMR averages for 2002–2006. These findings suggest that even very low levels of lithium in drinking water may play a role in reducing suicide risk within the general population.

Now, it’s interesting. And it needs to be replicated. it has implications for all sorts of uses, from calming the general populous to calming prison populations. I doubt that these researchers are thinking of anything that manipulative. These things always come from some member of government mis-reading and interesting correlation as a causation.

For my part, as soon as I saw the title of the article, I thought “oh, no, did you learn nothing from the Miranda fiasco” and started looking for hands of blue on the researchers. (If you haven’t seen Serenity, why not? Go rent it right now.)

(via Greg Laden)

Princeton hosted a contest to find beautiful photos of science related photos.

In their words:

The resulting assembly of images presents a fascinating and beautiful cross section of the arts and sciences at Princeton. It celebrates the aesthetics of research and the ways in which science and art inform each other.

Go take a look here.

Donor’s Choose Project: Solar Analysis

I’m highlighting projects from Donors Choose. This is Solar Analysis – a request to help fund hands-on science exploration for junior high students in Washington State.

Our school district has faced major budget cuts this past year. Although our district is committed to math and science excellence and to the NASA Explorer School program, science funding is a major issue.

My students need a star theater, an astronomy kit, a Sun-Earth model, 9 hands-on solar structure models, and an astronomy catch ball. The cost of this proposal is $573, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment.

This project only needs $393. Please help me fund this project or any of the others on the below page to completion!

With Donors Choose, you can give as little or as much as you like to each project. You can pay by credit card or check. Each donor recieves a reciept for tax purposes and a thank you from the teacher once the project has been completed.

If you have five dollars, please click below and help out.
Donors Choose

Tiny Hog saved from extinction

Most of the time I try not to go all girly, but for this I’m making an exception. He’s soooo cute. Much better than a potbelly pig.

Okay, girly time over. In Nepal, for the first time, pygmy hogs are being released back into the wild. Hopefully, this will help stimulate the population. The scientists are hopeful:

Early signs bode well for the pigs’ prospects. The 16 hogs due to return to the wild – taken from a captive population of only 79 – have been kept in large pre-release enclosures that replicate their natural habitat for the past five months and have become progressively shyer, their keepers say. “Up to release date, the hogs have shown naturalistic behaviour and an aversion to human contact, which is a positive sign that they will fair well when released,” the project said in its latest update.

Rather than just releasing the pigs, the Durrell Wildlife group is educating the local population on habitat and species preservation. While the little piggies will be exposed to their natural predators and the natural dangers of the world, the conservationists aren’t just abandoning them to their fate. They’re taking steps to intervene on the human side of the equation. As with all species, habitat loss is the largest threat to their continued existance.

(Via Boing Boing) (Via Times Online)

And Nat-Geo is behind the curve?

They’ve located the metor crater at Tunguska.

Um, I saw this episode of X-files. It wasn’t like the place was *hidden* or anything.

Gee, we didn’t think to look at that big old lake. How could that be a crater?

*shakes head* Come on. Krycek went under the fence with Mulder, ended up getting his arm cut off?

Like, duh, the aliens landed in 1908. Left behind black oil which can infect you and turn you into a puppet. Just like Dubya… (*slams hand over mouth* Okay, didn’t mean to get political on you.)

Brain Eating Pond Scum

Seriously, as a writer, I should be making this up. The problem is, it isn’t a plot from a medical thriller. It isn’t a SciFi gem. It isn’t even an X-Files episode. It’s real.

There are amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) in lakes that have already killed six.

Come on, they were killed by brain eating amoeba. That’s at least a cool way to go. A little painful maybe, but you could have “killed by pond scum” on your tombstone.

(Boing Boing)